Posts Tagged ‘website’

Testing your book’s title before your book is printed is the only way you can be sure that you’ve chosen the right title and subtitle for your book. Title testing is easier and cheaper than it was ever before.

It just takes a little effort to test your book’s proposed title and subtitle, but it can save you a lot of frustration and lost opportunities down the road.

Testing titles on your website

Here are some of the tools and techniques you can use to test proposed titles and subtitles on your website:

  • ŸLanding pages. Start by creating separate landing pages for each proposed book title. Landing pages don’t show up in a website’s navigation; visitors have to know where to go to get there. (You can keep search engines from indexing your landing pages by adding the HTML NOFOLLOW command to the header of each landing page.)
  • Setting up a test. Populate each landing page with identical content, but add a downloadable incentive, such as a tip sheet or table of contents, on each landing page. This will allow you to not only track the number of visitors to each page, but the number of visitors interested enough to download your incentive.
  • Driving traffic. There are several ways you can test the drawing power of different titles. One way is to drive traffic to your landing pages using blog posts, or Tweets, that contain different titles. Another option would be to create an A-B home page test, or an A-B-C test, so that every second (or third) visitor encounters a slightly different home page, i.e., a home page with a link containing a different titles.

The advantage of this approach is that- -assuming you know how to add and link new pages on your website and work with online resources like Google Analytics—there’s virtually no cost involved.

The disadvantage of this approach is that, depending on your blog and website traffic, you’ll soon get an idea of which title drives the most landing page traffic and downloads. However, it may take a week, or more, to come to a definite conclusion about which title draws the most traffic.

Pay-Per-Click options

You can speed-up your title testing using pay-per-click search engine advertising. In this case, you would create a pay-per-click campaign with 2 or 3 ads, with a different title in each ad.

Pay-per-click ads provide you with immediate feedback. Within a few moments of setting up your campaign, you’ll begin to see patterns developing.

The disadvantage, of course, is that you have to pay for pay-per-click advertisements. However, you are always in control; you can specify how much money you want to spend on your title testing each day. In addition, you can fine tune by targeting specific geographic areas, or excluding certain areas (i.e., foreign countries, etc.)

Using online surveys to test proposed book titles

During the last few years, a variety of online testing sites have appeared. Survey sites allow you to create and post online surveys hosted either on your site or the survey’s website.

Examples include: Free Online Surveys, Poll Daddy, SurveyMonkey, Zoomerang, and hundreds of others.

The best online surveys are not only free, but they offer a variety of survey formats: multiple choice, ranking, fill in the blank, and ratings. Many sites start-off free, but charge minimum monthly subscription charges for more advanced displaying and reporting options.

Best practices for online book title surveys

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your free online book title surveys:

  • ŸProvide a context. Set the stage for your title options with a short introductory paragraph that explains what your book is about, who you wrote it for, and the benefits it offers. Explain that you are looking for the titles that best describe the book you’re writing.
  • ŸProvide multiple options. Don’t just test titles, test the subtitles, too. And separate titles and subtitles. Just because you’ve paired a specific title with a specific subtitle doesn’t mean they work best in that order. Use separate questions for titles and subtitles, testing title against title and subtitle against title.
  • ŸInvite suggestions. Don’t assume that the title and subtitle options you provide include all the possibilities. Provide a text box for participants to use suggesting new alternatives.

Once you get started with testing book titles and subtitles, you can refine the process as much as you want to. For example, you can invite participants to rank the various possibilities, or ask them to rate the alternatives on scales of 1-5. You can also explore ways to qualify survey participant responses according to the likelihood of them purchasing each title and subtitle alternative.

Surveying the right people

The quality of your survey results depends on how effectively you have targeted the right market. It would be futile, for example, to invite everyone living in city of Dover, NH, for example, to comment on proposed titles and subtitles for #BOOK TITLE Tweet: 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Compelling Article, Book, and Event Titles.

A better choice would be to survey the faculty of the University of New Hampshire’s Writing Program, or- -even- -students participating in the program. Even better, however, would be to survey Published & Profitable friends and members, or readers of my blog. So, always make sure you target your surveys to the right audience!

To learn more about surveys and market testing

To learn more about market research, I recommend Jay Conrad Levinson and Robert Kaden’s More Guerrilla Marketing Research, which you can learn more about here. Unlike many books on the target, this book was written for business owners interested in a fast track to results. I’ve interviewed Robert, and he has a refreshingly candid approach to the topic.

The book’s subtitle summarizes the book’s purpose: Asking the Right People, the Right Questions, the Right Way, and Effectively Using the Answers to Make More Money.

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Selling when you’re not there

by Wayne Turmel on December 18, 2009

selling when not thereThere’s been a lot of research done about how customers- especially B2B customers- buy online.  The difference could mean a lot of money to your company and make your sales force’s jobs easier.  The good news is it means less work for you and your sales people if you do it right.

The problem is that many companies are still locked in last century’s sales thinking. That model was: hook them early in the sales cycle and get them to commit to a demo as early as possible. This webinar, usually delivered by a Subject Matter Expert, assumed they were starting at Square One. This doesn’t fit the way they want to buy from you now. They want to meet you armed with research and get their questions answered by someone (your sales person) who can help them buy.

Not surprisingly, companies are acting much like you and I do when we shop. CFOs and Purchasers (well, actually their underpaid and overworked assistants) are spending a lot of time cruising websites and shortening their list of prospective vendors. Only when they have a pretty good idea of the features they’re looking for- not to mention the approximate price and how you compare to the competition- will they  ask for a demo or to speak to a sales rep.

The implications of this are pretty profound:

  • Metrics matter Take a good look at your website’s analytics. When are people visiting your site? (if it’s a lot of after hours, you’re getting shopped out).What are they looking at? How long do they stay? How many take the next step to ask for contact with your reps?
  • Make sure you have something to measure If they’re not staying long, they aren’t finding what they are looking for, which is enough information to qualify you as a prospective vendor. The more information you provide (video demos, pre-recorded webinars, articles and industry research) the more they will look at you as an expert and a resource. This can only help.
  • You’d better know what your customers think they know Just because they’ve clicked the “schedule a demo” button doesn’t mean that’s what they need.  It’s critical that whoever they talk to next ask questions about what they have already read or seen (they don’t want to sit through redundant information) and where they are in the sales process (are you talking to the buyer who will need different information than someone doing the screening for them?). All of this means…
  • The people who demo need to be (or at least think and present like) sales people Many companies use “sales engineers” or Subject Matter Experts to do the demos to customers, which is fine (obviously you need someone who knows what they’re doing, and that isn’t always the sales person of record) but their job is not solely to demonstrate functions and features. They need to ask the questions that qualify the prospect, identify where they are in the sales process and move them through the sales cycle.  What are you doing to help prepare them for that role?

Does your website reflect this new buying reality? What are you doing to help customers move themselves as far along the sales cycle as possible, and what are you doing to help your SMEs and sales people bring them the rest of the way?


No one wants to see your Demo

by Wayne Turmel on September 21, 2009

dreamstime_9754785I have bad news for anyone who does product demos over the web: No one wants to see them. Seriously. Once you realize that it will be much easier to sell your software.

To clarify: They might have signed up for a demo OR they might have clicked a box on your website asking you to please schedule them for one OR they might have even agreed to watch it to learn what you’ve got, but they probably “want” to see it like you “want” to go to the bank on a long-weekend Friday. The point is: Yes, it does serve an important function but it’s no one’s idea of fun.

Understanding what customers want in a demo is critical in changing the demos from time-consuming events that are a necessary part of the sales process to a step in a shortened sales cycle that helps customers get on with their lives and makes them glad they met you.

Here are some tips – I apologize for any hurt feelings:

  • Customers have only one question on their mind- “Can this thing solve my current business problem?. If the answer is yes, you’re on your way to a sale, if it’s no, don’t waste their (and your) valuable time. Ask plenty of questions before you start presenting, even if it means you never get to actually demo the product. And don’t take all day getting to the stuff they care about or you’ll lose them.
  • Buyers don’t care how cool your technology is This one is a little hard to take, especially since many of us doing demos built the products in question and are quite impressed with it ourselves. The genius of your algorithm or the glory of your GUI means nothing if it doesn’t help the customer in some way: either it helps  them generate more revenue, lower their cost or simply makes their job easier. Lots of us like to show off all the features because it’s “value added”. Since it’s not valuable unless the customer says it really is, in most of the cases it’s really “time added”, and not “value added”.
  • Don’t talk like a programmer Odds are that early in the sales cycle the person watching the demo is not as technically adept as you are. They are probably not even IT people – they’re in Finance, or Sales or even HR- whichever group is actually going to use it.  Use a “programmer-to-mortal” dictionary if you have to and use their language not yours.
  • They need to know you understand their issues Two things will help put them at ease.
    • Tell success stories that relate to their business. If they’re a small business, don’t just tell them IBM uses your product and loves it (they’ll think you’re too complicated and expensive). Conversely if you’re selling to a big enterprise, don’t just tell them about the little company that uses it (you won’t scale to their needs). Make your success stories relevant to their business.
    • Use their examples. If they are in HR, show them how to do the task they need done. Don’t use a sales example to the IT group. And if they call it a “screen” instead of an “interface”, you can too.

    No one signs up for a web demo with a Slurpee ,a  jumbo bag of popcorn and a comfy chair. They want their questions answered, their problem solved and their lives back. You probably have better things to do, too.  Stop treating demos as presentations and more like sales calls and you’ll go a long way in achieving the purpose of the demo!


    Wayne Turmel PicThis article is contributed by Wayne Turmel, the founder and president of GreatWebMeetings and the host of The Cranky Middle Manager Show podcast. You can follow him on twitter at @greatwebmeeting.